Turn Calamities Into Opportunities

Jack Welch, the man responsible for the exponential growth of GE in his book “Winning” says, “Companies will benefit for having realized that change means seizing opportunity, even the ones wrought by adversity”. It is true and he goes on to quote that since 9/11 an entirely new kind of security industry which is today worth billions of dollars was born since even in a calamity a shrewd human being saw a business opportunity.

It goes without saying that no human being would like to see disasters but the truth is economic slowdown would happen, companies would go bankrupt, certain amendments in laws would make few sectors suffer, dollar prices would fluctuate and these are beyond us but what we can do is to look at these calamities with a different spectacle and seize those hidden opportunities.

As the old saying goes, “An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity and a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity”.

The failure of Global Trust Bank was a calamity that hit the Indian banking sector but it turned out to be an opportunity for Oriental Bank of Commerce to expand its operations South of Vindhyas.

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Enron fell apart- a tragic business story if there ever was one but Warren Buffett was able to take a position in its former pipeline business at bargain-basement price. And GE picked up its wind power business at what it considered a very good price.

The list can be endless and no continent and no sector is an exception. In fact no successful individual is an exception to this truth.

Case in point from my own life.

After starting Aura Leadership Foundation in 2000, I aspired to become an International trainer and tried several ways to expand to other countries but in vain.
In 2003 we grabbed a big assignment from an Online Gaming company to train their executives on creating a culture called “Known For” Service. 80% of their customers were from North America. My client grew very big in the next few years and in 2006 we signed a fresh contract where I would be required to train more than 2500 people in a span of over 2 years and this was a very prestigious assignment and also a very lucrative one.

On September 29th 2006 the then President of USA Mr. George Bush passed a bill in the Senate which prohibited all the Online Gaming companies located outside USA to accept payment from US citizens. Many of the publicly listed Online Gaming companies lost their American customers in one go and my client was no exception and they lost 80% of the customer base in one go. Obviously they decided to downsize their manpower to a bare minimum. My contract was terminated and a huge calamity had hit our fledging training business. I was dumbstruck and it took a few months to recover from this blow.

By January 2007 I realized that my client was recruiting people in Europe and they were acquiring customers in the European market. I decided to offer my training in UK, Gibraltar and Bulgaria since I knew their operations like the back of my hand. Many of my associates were very pessimistic and advised me not to venture since the Online Gaming companies were in terrible shape that time. Yet I saw an opportunity for me to go global amidst the troubled times. My move paid off and that enabled us to start European Training operations and later to expand in different countries.


The truth is what the world calls as a calamity we can call it as a Turning Point if we can learn to see the hidden opportunities which is normally not seen by others. That differentiates the Smart Leaders from the rest

The failure of Indian banking system became the turning point of Oriental Bank of Commerce.
What looked like a calamity in September 2006 became a turning point of my life by enabling me to Go Global in 2007.

So My Dear Friends next time when you are confronted with an unfavorable event ask yourself, “How can I turn this into an opportunity”? In life favorable or unfavorable event is determined by how we choose to respond to that event. In fact many a success stories scripts have been born from an unfavorable event.

Seize those opportunities and be an eternal Optimist in thinking and action.

Loving you.

JVC Sreeram

Energizing, Empowering and transforming lives is what I do.

Are you ready to reach your highest potential?

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